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Public Health

Mr. Boswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make a statement on (a) the statutory responsibility for public health matters, (b) the responsibility for preventative action in support of public health and (c) the funding responsibility for these functions in cases where the boundary of a primary care trust is not wholly within or consistent with the boundary of a proposed strategic health authority. [43136]

Yvette Cooper [holding answer 18 March 2002]: We have set out in "Shifting the Balance of Power: the Next Steps" the public health functions and responsibilities of NHS bodies. Necessary and appropriate legislation and regulations to implement these functions are being laid before Parliament.

The NHS Reform and Health Care Professions Bill currently before Parliament includes a requirement for each primary care trust to have a director of public health as a board member. This will form part of a public health delivery system which will have a strong public health team in every PCT focused on improving health, preventing serious illness and reducing health inequalities

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in the populations served to ensure maximum improvement to health through prevention and other interventions.

In future the intention is that allocations will be made direct to primary care trusts subject to the passage of legislation through Parliament. PCTs will receive an allocation for their relevant population. Therefore the small number of PCTs who have partial co-terminosity with strategic health authorities will not be affected adversely nor will their use of funding to support public health programmes locally.


Dr. Evan Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average waiting time was for cataract extraction in (a) England and (b) each NHS trust for each year since 1997–98; and if he will make a statement. [44275]

Mr. Hutton: Information on the average median waiting time for cataract extraction in England and each NHS trust for each year since 1997–98 has been placed in the Library.


Mr. Bercow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) capital and (b) revenue underspend in his Department is expected to be in the financial year 2001–02. [47798]

Mr. Hutton [holding answer 10 April 2002]: Estimated outturn figures for 2001–02 were published in the Budget report on 17 April.

Fire Safety

Dr. Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much money he intends to make available this year to improve fire safety in the NHS. [47854]

Mr. Hutton: Every year we make available to national health service trusts significant funds in the form of block capital allocations for the purpose of improving fire safety together with other priorities. A separate figure for fire is not identified. Further, we are currently implementing the largest ever hospital building programme in the history of the NHS which is replacing increasing amounts of worn out stock with modern, high quality buildings, which is contributing to our drive to raise the standards of the estate.

Worcestershire Royal Hospital

Mr. Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the adequacy of car parking facilities at the new Worcestershire Royal hospital. [47591]

Yvette Cooper: I am advised that the car park requirements for the new Worcestershire hospital have been prepared by traffic consultants for the trust, using planning standards. Both Worcester city and Worcestershire county planning and highways officers have agreed the car park calculations for the site.

At a meeting on 10 January 2002 the Worcester city council planning sub committee approved the provision of 337 additional car parking spaces on the south car park

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and this work is due for completion at the end of June 2002. This will bring the total of available spaces on site to 1,322.

In the meantime, I am advised that the trust has negotiated with the new owners of the Ronkswood site to allow staff to park there until September 2002, freeing up car parking spaces for visitors. Two mini buses run to and from Ronkswood and various points around the Worcestershire Royal hospital between 6 am and 10 pm daily.

Adult Protection

Mr. Burstow: To ask the Secretary of State for Health, pursuant to his answer of 26 March 2002, Official Report, column 941W, regarding protection of vulnerable adults, if he will list the relevant stakeholders that will be consulted in the exercise. [50504]

Jacqui Smith: We are planning to begin the consultation exercise in the early summer. The stakeholders that will be consulted will be all councils with social services responsibilities, a wide range of relevant independent sector agencies, the NHS and independent health care sector and employment organisations. The consultation document will also be published on the Department's website.

Residential Care

Mr. Woodward: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what was the average daily number of available beds in residential care for (a) mental illnesses and (b) learning disabilities in (i) St. Helens and Knowsley health authority, (ii) Merseyside, (iii) the North West (iv) England and (v) Scotland in (1) 1998, (2) 1999, (3) 2000, (4) 2001 and (5) the quarter to 31 March 2002. [48664]

Jacqui Smith: Annual information on the average daily number of available NHS residential care beds for England, regional office areas and each NHS trust is on the Department of Health website hospitalactivity. Information on the number of places in local authority and independent sector care homes at 31 March for the relevant years in given in the table.

Information relating to Scotland is a matter for the devolved Administration.

Places in local authority and independent sector residential and nursing care homes for mentally ill an learning disabled people
Rounded numbers at 31 March

St. Helens and Knowsley HA
Mental illness(13)390430430450
Learning disability410300310320
Mental illness(13)2,7602,8602,7402,880
Learning disability1,9301,8501,8401,940
North West
Mental illness(13)9,3009,91010,0309,620
Learning disability5,3905,0205,4405,360
Mental illness(13)66,50066,18068,76068,880
Learning disability53,48055,29057,41047,090

(13) Includes homes for elderly mentally ill people


DH Returns

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Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what plans he has to review the eligibility criteria for people with dementia towards help in meeting their costs should they require residential care; and if he will make a statement. [49925]

Jacqui Smith: The Government expect that access to care services should be determined on the basis of individuals' needs and risks to independence, rather than reference to particular health conditions or other circumstances. Guidance on fair eligibility criteria for adult social care will be published shortly.

When individuals need to enter residential care their eligibility for financial support from local councils, and the contribution they should make to care home fees, is determined in accordance with the National Assistance (Assessment of Resources) Regulations 1992. All residents are treated equally under these regulations.

Stroke Services

Mr. Allen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) which general hospitals have plans to introduce a specialist stroke service by April 2004; [49733]

Jacqui Smith: The NHS National Planning Framework for 2002–03, published at the end of last year establishes the delivery of the milestones set within the National Service Framework for Older People including the first Stroke milestone of April 2002 as a national priority for actin and achievement. The year on year increases in the funding of the NHS and social care provide the basis for appropriate financial support and priority setting at local level in relation to the development of stroke care, depending on the starting point in each individual area.

Progress against the April 2002 Stroke milestone will be available in the summer. Informal reports from regional offices indicate that the milestone should be met in all but a few cases. Any hospital identified by the strategic health authority in this monitoring process as not having plans will be offered appropriate advice.

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